The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Afghanistan:
The U.S. Caught in a Quagmire

Oct 26, 2015

Barack Obama announced on October 15 that he would leave thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016, breaking one of his 2008 electoral promises.

The U.S. military has not brought security, nor the end of corruption or the heroin traffic, and even less the democracy promised in 2001 during the imperialist invasion of the country. And it hasn’t made the Taliban go away.

The Afghan population has paid for this war with close to 100,000 deaths since 2001, and many more wounded. Millions of Afghans have fled their country. The inhabitants of the frontier zones in Pakistan have also been massively affected.

Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent in this war and occupation over 14 years, despite the 140,000 western troops in Afghanistan at the height of the war (under Obama in 2011), despite the tens of thousands of mercenaries from private security companies, the U.S. has not been able to impose its unpopular Afghan allies on the country. Because the Taliban remains active in many Afghan districts and sometimes even takes over cities, like Kunduz a few weeks ago, the U.S. is keeping its troops in the country.

To leave Afghanistan while the Taliban is on the offensive would smell like a defeat for U.S. imperialism and its military. But to leave an army of occupation for an indefinite period, without any perspective of victory, is also problematic for the U.S. This is the impasse that U.S. imperialism finds itself in.

How will Obama’s successor in the White House deal with the Afghan problem? No one knows. But one thing is clear: the Afghan population will not be easily controlled, no more than the other peoples imperialism seeks to dominate.